U.S. News

News
3:32 pm
Sat December 29, 2012

'Light Doesn't Die': A Sister's Poem For Slain Sandy Hook Teacher

Lauren Rousseau was killed on Dec. 14 when a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Conn., killing 26 children and adults at the school.
Courtesy of Rousseau Family AP

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 4:28 pm

The subject line on the email my old friend Bill sent me two days before Christmas said, simply: "here is a poem emily wrote for her murdered sister lauren."

Emily is Bill's daughter. Lauren, his stepdaughter, is one of the teachers gunned down during the Dec. 14 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

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Politics
3:28 pm
Sat December 29, 2012

'Truth By Repetition': The Evolution Of Political Mudslinging

Opponents demonstrate against the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling at the Lincoln Memorial in October. The decision changed campaigning, but it apparently didn't make ads more fact-based.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 4:55 pm

There's always name-calling in national elections, but now there are more ways to get the message out, says political opposition researcher Michael Rejebian. During the past election, he says, the dirt was just flying more often.

Rejebian and Alan Huffman — both former investigative reporters — dig up background on their clients' opponents. While their currency is facts, many of the political attacks this election cycle were doling out something different.

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Politics
3:28 pm
Sat December 29, 2012

Cautious Optimism For Behind-The-Scenes Fiscal Dealing

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

This is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.

Three days, that's how long Congress has to pass legislation that would avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. The combination of expiring tax cuts and across-the-board spending cuts become effective midnight on Monday. So happy New Year.

It's not exactly the way Republicans, Democrats or most Americans want to celebrate the New Year. To find out if we're any closer to a deal, I'm joined by NPR's White House correspondent Ari Shapiro. Hi Ari.

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Economy
3:28 pm
Sat December 29, 2012

2012 Economic News That Didn't Involve Cliff-Plunging

The fiscal cliff has been dominating headlines, but there were other, more uplifting economics stories of 2012. Host Jacki Lyden talks to Justin Wolfers, professor of economics and public policy at the University of Michigan. They take a look back at the biggest economics stories of the year.

Politics
3:28 pm
Sat December 29, 2012

From Obamacare To Wis. Recall: 2012 Political Headlines

President Obama's re-election wasn't the only noteworthy news of 2012. Host Jacki Lyden talks to Newsweek/Daily Beast correspondent Michael Tomasky about the biggest political stories of 2012.

U.S.
3:28 pm
Sat December 29, 2012

Acts Of Kindness Continue At Corner Perk Cafe

The Corner Perk Cafe in Bluffton, S.C.
Mandi Brower Photography

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 4:40 pm

In January, we brought you a story from Bluffton, S.C., where acts of kindness abounded at a small coffee shop called the Corner Perk Cafe.

It all began when one of the cafe's regulars decided to "pay it forward." She donated $100 to buy other customers' coffee.

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Business
3:28 pm
Sat December 29, 2012

Hollywood Writer's Gongs Still Going Strong

Comedy writer Andrew Borakove left California for Lincoln, Neb., to sell gongs.
Guy Raz

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 4:33 pm

Andrew Borakove was a television comedy writer in Hollywood when he realized he had to make a life change.

"A vision of a gong appeared before me, and I said a gong? I've never thought of that," he says. "And I started doing research and I said, 'Yep, I could maybe sell gongs for a living.' "

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U.S.
3:28 pm
Sat December 29, 2012

In Limbo: Stateless Man Stuck On American Samoa

Mikhail Sebastian lived in Los Angeles before his fateful trip to American Samoa.
Courtesy Mikhail Sebastian

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 5:42 am

Last December, Mikhail Sebastian decided to take a New Year's trip to American Samoa, but when he tried to board his flight to return home to Los Angeles, he was barred. U.S. immigration officials said he had self-deported.

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Law
3:28 pm
Sat December 29, 2012

Years Delayed, Detroit Starts Testing Rape Kits For Evidence

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 5:00 pm

Detroit is starting to sort through thousands of boxes of potential evidence in rape cases that have been left unprocessed. The 11,000 "rape kits" were discovered in 2009, and Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy has been leading the effort to process them.

In April, she told weekends on All Things Considered that they began with a random sample of 400 kits to get a snapshot of what they were dealing with. That sampling led to two trials, which resulted in convictions.

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History
9:20 am
Sat December 29, 2012

'Watch Nights,' A New Year's Celebration Of Emancipation

Pocket versions of the Proclamation of Emancipation were distributed through Union troops to be read to slaves.
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 6:16 pm

The National Archives is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation by putting the original document on display over New Year's weekend.

The institution is also hosting a series of programs, including a "Watch Night" on New Year's Eve, following a tradition dating back to 1862.

The first Watch Night was Dec. 31, 1862, as abolitionists and others waited for word — via telegraph, newspaper or word of mouth — that the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued.

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It's All Politics
3:22 am
Sat December 29, 2012

Congressional Leaders Hopeful As Fiscal Cliff Deadline Nears

House Speaker John Boehner arrives at the White House on Friday for talks with President Obama and congressional leaders aimed at avoiding the "fiscal cliff."
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 3:38 pm

Even though the top four congressional leaders left their White House meeting with the president separately and silently on Friday, they cast the hourlong encounter in a positive light back at the Capitol.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi described the tone of the discussion to head off across-the-board tax hikes and spending cuts as "candid." An aide to House Speaker John Boehner put out a statement that noted that the group agreed the next step should be the Senate's — a tacit acknowledgement that Boehner is no longer the lead negotiator with President Obama.

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It's All Politics
4:50 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

New Immigration Battle: Driver's Licenses

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 5:19 pm

In a sign of growing opposition to President Obama's immigration policy, Iowa has become the latest state to deny driver's licenses to young illegal immigrants who receive deferments from deportation.

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
2:45 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Storm Refugees Struggle To Rebound In Times Square

Natisha Laws near her hotel in the middle of Times Square. She and her family were placed at the DoubleTree in mid-November by FEMA. They lost their rental apartment during Superstorm Sandy and have been struggling to recover.
Cindy Rodriguez for NPR

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

The DoubleTree Hotel sits on one of the loudest and glitziest corners of Times Square. It's where enamored 9-year-old Isaiah Douglas has been staying with his mom, dad and little sister.

"It has been a great experience," Isaiah says. But the family isn't there on vacation.

Their story emerges in an elevator as a hotel guest strikes up a friendly conversation with Isaiah's mom, Natisha Laws.

"Where are you from?" the tourist asks.

"I'm from here. I'm from New York. We're with FEMA because of the Hurricane Sandy."

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Around the Nation
2:44 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

California Missions Undergo Upgrades To Resist Quakes

Scaffolding is seen at the basilica at a mission in Carmel, Calif., a sign of its multimillion-dollar seismic retrofit.
Krista Almanzan for NPR

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

At California's nearly two dozen Spanish missions, conversion these days isn't just about religion; it's also about seismic retrofitting. That's because the missions — which date to the late 1700s, when Spain's king sent Franciscan missionaries to convert natives to Christianity — would not withstand a major earthquake.

At a mission in Carmel, a 220-year-old basilica is in the middle of an earthquake retrofit. Workers removed the structure's red tile roof and replaced it with scaffolding and a protective plastic.

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Economy
2:38 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Reading The Economic Tea Leaves For 2013

A housing revival will be key to an economic recovery in 2013, analysts say.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

The U.S. economy was a bit of a disappointment in 2012. During the early months of the year, job creation was surprisingly strong, but by the end of the year, uncertainty about the election and the "fiscal cliff" slowed the economy's forward motion. So will 2013 look any better?

Mark Zandi of Moody's Analytics says that while Washington likely will steer us away from the fiscal cliff at the last minute, some elements of the deal will be a drag on the economy early in 2013.

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The Salt
2:18 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

One Lunch Lady's Cafeteria Conversion

Kathy Del Tonto (far right) participates in a class that teaches school cafeteria workers how to prepare meals from scratch.
LiveWell Colorado

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 4:02 pm

Kathy Del Tonto started cooking school food 30 years ago in the Montrose school district at the foot of Colorado's San Juan Mountains. Back then, the cafeteria workers made everything from scratch.

"My first kitchen that I managed was a little country school out south of town, and we made our own ketchup and everything," she says.

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U.S.
2:18 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Is It Morally Wrong For U.S. To Export Coal?

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

The Seattle area is seeing widespread, well-organized opposition to an export industry: coal. Thousands of people have turned out to express their disgust with a plan to build export terminals on Puget Sound to ship American coal to Asia. Opponents cite noise, traffic delays, coal dust and global warming.

Remembrances
2:18 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Kincannon: Painting A More Accurate Portrait Of America

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

C. Louis Kincannon, the former director of the U.S. Census Bureau, died of cancer Dec. 15 at age 72. Kincannon brought ethnic and linguistic diversity to his agency. We remember him with Tom Mesenbourg, the Census Bureau's acting director.

Politics
2:18 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Obama Meets With Congressional Leaders On Fiscal Cliff

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

Audie Cornish talks with NPR's Ari Shapiro about efforts to prevent the automatic spending cuts and tax hikes due to take effect at the beginning of the year.

NPR Story
2:06 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Major Port Strike Averted

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. A strike has been averted at many of the nation's busiest shipping ports, at least temporarily. The union representing longshoremen at ports along the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico have threatened to walk off the job starting Sunday. But as we hear from NPR's Jim Zarroli, port operators and the union have reached agreement on one of their most contentious issues.

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The Impact of War
12:32 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Suicide Hotline Fights To Keep Vets And Troops Alive

David Easterling, manager of the Suicide Prevention Program at Fort Riley in Kansas spray-paints Army boots white in 2009 as part of an on-base display to commemorate the six Fort Riley soldiers who committed suicide in 2008.
Chris Hondros Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

At a suicide prevention center in upstate New York, America's troops and veterans are calling in for help.

And that help is needed more than ever. This past year witnessed a terrible death toll from suicide. For the first time in a decade of war, more active-duty troops have taken their own lives this year than have died fighting in Afghanistan.

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The Two-Way
11:36 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Tracking Gun-related Deaths, One Tweet At A Time

A makeshift shrine to the victims of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. Slate and a citizen journalist are trying to track gun deaths across the nation since that Dec. 14 mass shooting.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 6:36 am

How many Americans died on Christmas Day from a gun shot? How many have been shot and killed since the Dec. 14 mass shooting at a school in Newtown, Conn.?

No one knows for sure. Authorities pull together annual figures, but not daily reports on gun-related murders, suicides and accidental deaths.

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Barbershop
10:08 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Is 'Django Unchained' The 'Blackest Film Ever'?

Originally published on Mon December 31, 2012 8:08 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Coming up, all kinds of folks made their debut on Twitter this year, including His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI. We decided we wanted to talk about the best and worst of 2012 on Twitter. That's coming up later in the program.

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Around the Nation
10:08 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Tell Us How You Will Find Peace In 2013

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 11:02 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Looking ahead to the new year, we would like to know if you are planning to make a change in an effort to bring peace into your life. It could be anything: trying to reconcile with someone with whom you are estranged, cutting up your credit cards, cleaning out the garage or making plans for a weekly date night. Whatever it is, if the intention is to bring peace to your life, we'd like to hear about it

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NPR Story
10:00 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Making Resolutions That Stick

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 11:03 am

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

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StoryCorps
1:25 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Decades Later, Student Finds Teacher To Say 'Thank You'

John Cruitt reunited with his third-grade teacher, Cecile Doyle, to tell her about the impact she had on him as he coped with his mother's death.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 5:45 am

John Cruitt, 62, spent decades tracking down his third-grade teacher.

He wanted to talk with Cecile Doyle about 1958 — the year his mother, who was seriously ill with multiple sclerosis, passed away.

Her death came just days before Christmas. Cruitt had been expecting to go home from school and decorate the Christmas tree.

"But I walked into the living room, and my aunt was there, and she said, 'Well, honey, Mommy passed away this morning.' "

Cruitt remembers seeing his teacher, Doyle, at his mother's wake.

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It's All Politics
2:23 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

Federal Government Prepares For Uncertain Landing After 'Fiscal Cliff'

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 7:40 pm

With negotiations to avoid the "fiscal cliff" uncertain at best, the Obama administration is trying to tamp down anxiety in the federal workforce.

The administration's message to various federal agencies is that there will be little immediate effect on public employees from the budget cuts scheduled to take effect next week if a deal is not reached. Treasury Department employees, for instance, were told not to expect "day to day operations to change dramatically on or immediately after January 2."

For workers, of course, that's good news.

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The Two-Way
2:20 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

Ski Resort Makes Snow With Treated Wastewater, After A Long Dispute

The Arizona Snowbowl resort began making snow exclusively with reclaimed wastewater this week. In this file photo, employees go up a ski lift at the resort.
Khampha Bouaphanh AP

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 4:14 pm

An Arizona ski resort is making snow for the first time this year, ending more than seven years' worth of legal battles over its snowmaking system, which relies entirely upon treated wastewater to coat its slopes when the snowfall has been uneven.

The resort, Arizona Snowbowl, has long been a target of American Indian tribes, who say it defiles sacred land. Critics have also said the snowmaking system might threaten an endangered plant. The resort sits on more than 700 acres of land that it leases from the U.S. Forest Service.

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Shots - Health News
2:20 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

Shootings Leave Sandy Hook Survivors Rethinking The Odds

People visit a memorial outside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 15.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 9:02 pm

About a month ago, Declan Procaccini's 10-year-old son woke him early in the morning in a fright.

"He came into my bedroom and said, 'Dad, I had a horrible, horrible dream!' " Procaccini says. "He was really shaken up. I said, 'Tell me about it,' and he told me he'd had a dream that a teenager came into his classroom at his school and shot all the kids in front of him."

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U.S.
2:20 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

Florida Becomes No. 1 In Concealed Weapons Permits

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 7:40 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

After the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the country renewed a debate over gun control. At the same time, Florida quietly marked a milestone. It became the first state to issue more than a million permits allowing residents to carry concealed weapons. From Miami, NPR's Greg Allen reports.

GREG ALLEN, BYLINE: It's the holiday season, and at American Armory, a gun store in Homestead, Florida, the atmosphere is festive.

(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD)

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